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8 relationship experts offer love resolutions

Yes, you’ll start eating right and hit the gym more in 2011, but what about your love life? We asked eight people who spend their days thinking about other people’s romances to suggest the relationship resolutions they’d like to see people make for the new year.

Patti Stanger, star of Bravo TV’s “Millionaire Matchmaker” reality show

“My relationship resolution for 2011 would be for daters to stay in the moment! Don’t look back at what you’ve done wrong. Don’t think ahead – as in, Is this person the one? Just enjoy the moment and enjoy the person you’re with.”

Carolyn Hax, Washington Post advice columnist

“Start choosing not to take things personally. When someone says something that’s a little off, or doesn’t return a call, or forgets something you said, resist the impulse to take offense. Instead, consider that there’s an explanation that doesn’t involve you at all. Even if it ultimately was a personal slight, waiting for more information allows you to act, versus react – and often gives you time to put the ‘offense’ into perspective.”

Toni Coleman, dating coach

“Resolve to work on your emotional intelligence in order to improve your chances for finding healthy and satisfying love. This involves developing a greater awareness of what you are communicating both verbally and nonverbally to others, as well as learning to accurately read the messages that others are sending to you.”

Dr. Ruth Westheimer, sex therapist

“People who are not in a relationship need to resolve not to give up hope. And to go out and tell all their friends that they are looking and make themselves available to meeting new people. Those in a relationship should celebrate. But they also shouldn’t take anything for granted, and they should resolve not to criticize one another. If there is something about the relationship that needs improving, they need to discuss it. But they have to make sure the timing is right. ... If you bring it up impulsively, you might end up doing more harm than good.”

Audrey Chapman, host of “The Audrey Chapman Show” on WHUR (96.3 FM)

“Try not to think of love as something that is measured in doses. Love is not a medicine for all your emotional ills. And learn to ask directly for what you want in a relationship. Keep in mind that your partner is not your parent. They can only provide what they are capable of giving, based on who they are and where they are in life.”

Terri Orbuch, author of “5 Simple Steps to Take Your Marriage From Good to Great”

“Don’t focus on the negative. The most effective way to boost happiness in a basically good relationship is to focus and strengthen what is already working. That positive energy makes you feel good and motivates you to keep going in the same direction. Optimism and a positive outlook also attract others to you. And stop buying into relationship myths. Learn the realities of relationships. The biggest reason couples split up isn’t sex, conflict or lack of communication – instead, it’s frustration. Specifically, frustration from unrealistic expectations about love, the opposite sex and relationships.”

Keith Miller, couples counselor

“I’d like to see people get a grip on themselves! I watch too many couples fight, disconnect and break up because our brains are instinctively wired to protect against hurt. It takes courage in the face of potential hurt to challenge the assumptions you make about your partner or the world, but when you start down this path, you create possibilities where there may have been none.”

Deborah Y. Luxenberg, divorce lawyer with Luxenberg, Johnson & Dickens

“To be honest with each other. About everything – including money. We see so many people who are hiding things from their partner, and that is always the downfall of the relationship, because nothing erodes trust faster.”

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